Herbert Stern, the lawyer hired by then U.S. Attorney Chris Christie to monitor UMDNJ as part of a deferred prosecution agreement, has found himself at the wrong end of a lawsuit filed by a former client.
The lawsuit by former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio alleges that among other things, Stern's attorneys overbilled him while representing him during a six-week-long trial on insider trading charges. Nacchio was convicted and sentenced to 70 months in prison. His fines and restitution amounted to $70 million.
Now he is suing Stern and his firm Stern & Kilcullen LLC alleging negligence in the handling of his case. But the suit also alleges that among the $25 million Stern billed for the defense, were charges for thousands of dollars of staff breakfasts, in-room movies and underwear.
Nacchio also claims that Stern's firm billed for "duplicative and unnecessary work" including seven attorneys to attend a court appearance.
According to the suit, Stern's firm was "negligent and careless in handling the defense of the criminal action," which resulted in the barring of a key Nacchio witness.
The suit alleges that the trial judge noted Stern's "gross defect in failing to reveal the methodology of a key witness."
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"Christie’s method for coping with scandal has been more complicated. In January, the seemingly-local issue of lane closings on the George Washington Bridge, which created a massive traffic jam in the Hudson River town of Fort Lee, became one of national interest when it was revealed that one of Christie’s closest staffers had ordered them—for what looked like political retribution against a Democratic mayor. The scandal was quickly dubbed 'Bridgegate,' and unfortunately for Christie, it played into his reputation as a bully. Christie's response was to act unlike himself: humble." - Olivia Nuzzi- The Daily Beast
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